Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11

“World War I, that tiresome European engagement that threatened to close down French couture.”

--Author Caroline Seebohm

“I know, of course, how important it is not to keep a business engagement, if one wants to retain any sense of the beauty of life.”

--Oscar Wilde


Public Diplomacy: A National Security Imperative Judith A. McHale Under Secretary [of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] Address at the Center for a New American Security Washington, DC June 11, 2009U.S. Department of State: "Today we have a President and Secretaries of State and Defense who are committed to renewing our engagement with the people of the world and restoring the kind of leadership that made the United States a force for global progress for so much of our history. The Obama Administration recognizes the central role of public diplomacy as a tool of smart power and an essential ingredient for 21st century statecraft. … Secretary Clinton has put people-to-people diplomacy at the heart of smart power and has underscored our need to, 'build new partnerships from the bottom up, and to use every tool at our disposal.' … The goal of this kind of person-to-person engagement

has always been to form lasting relationships. This is now a foundation of our communications strategy as well. In a crowded media environment, relationships offer a way to break through the clutter. … One of my top priorities at the State Department is to instill a renewed sense of urgency and a strong emphasis on achieving real results. … At the top of my list is integrating public diplomacy into the policy process at every level, from formulation through implementation." McHale image from

Lebanon Election Outcome and Obama’s Public Diplomacy - Brigitte L. Nacos, reflectivepundit: "While nobody knows for sure whether and how the Obama administration’s direct diplomacy and public diplomacy affected voters [in Lebanon] … it seems that more voters liked Obama’s unifying message rather than the divisive messages of bin Laden and others.”

Obama’s Speech in Cairo - Roni Bart, Canada Free Press: "[T]he speech in Cairo will be remembered as a milestone in the annals of 'soft power' and public diplomacy based on persuasion, symbols, and the media. It likely contributed to a rise in America’s popularity on the Arab street. However, this rise will not affect Muslims in Afghanistan-Pakistan who are victimized as a result of the struggle against violent extremists, the Iraqis who are tired of America, and anyone who is expecting Obama to succeed in ridding Palestinian areas of an Israeli presence. Furthermore, the Arab street has proven time and again to have but limited effect on governments. In this sense, the speech should be measured by its success in persuading Arab nations to gradually normalize their relations with Israel (one of the few concrete calls in the speech)." Image from

Our View: Obama speech paves way for Clinton effortsCrimson White: "Obama’s journey to the Middle East – he also made stops in Saudi Arabia – and his extraordinary speech in the Egyptian capital were important signals of the new president’s respect for the region. … The State Department should pump funding into public diplomacy efforts, and American diplomats must showcase the policy differences between George W. Bush and Barack Obama. To find success in the Muslim world, Obama, via Clinton, must persuade Muslims that the United States is not using moderate governments as mere pawns. They must feel they are legitimate partners of the United States."

President Obama Changing Islam’s Opinion Of The U.S.- Ronald Walters, Seattle Medium: "Then, as now, right wing radicals have called the President an apologist. In fact, here we have a president who has captured the attention of the entire Islamic world, whose speech has been translated into 12 languages, and who is roundly accepted on the Muslim street as a positive force. But we find the reluctance to accept this triumph of public diplomacy in his own country." Image from

Obama's missed opportunity in Egypt - Bill Gertz, Washington Times: "The White House views the speech in Cairo by President Obama reaching out to Muslims as part of its aggressive effort to counter the lies of Muslim extremists while promoting American values around the world. Specialists in international public diplomacy, however, said the president missed a chance to launch a much-needed program to more directly critique the roots of Muslim extremism and counter its ideology of hate with a war of ideas."

Obama’s trifecta: so far, so good - Donald K. Emmerson, East Asia Forum: "A trifecta happens when a gambler correctly predicts the first three finishers of a race in the correct order. Obama appears to have bet his skills in public diplomacy on this sequence: Ankara first, then Cairo, then Jakarta. One can ask whether his actions will match his words, and whether the US Congress will go along with his prescriptions. But with two destinations down and one to go, Obama is well on his way to completing a trifecta in the race for hearts and minds in the Muslim world."

US House Of Representatives Approves State Department Funding Measure

- Dan Robinson, VOA: "The House of Representatives has approved legislation authorizing U.S foreign assistance programs and other spending for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years. … The measure also funds U.S government-funded international broadcasting activities, establishes permanent authority for Radio Free Asia and extends the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy." Image from

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Simon Study Abroad Bill - PRNewswire-USNewswire: "The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act gained significant momentum yesterday as it passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410). The Foreign Relations Act, introduced last month by Representative Howard Berman (D-Calif.), is a comprehensive piece of legislation to enhance the U.S. foreign policy efforts of the U.S. Department of State and the Peace Corps. It also includes new initiatives like the Simon legislation that are aimed at advancing U.S. global engagement. ... The Foreign Relations Act also contains other important investments critical to the effectiveness of U.S. public diplomacy, foreign policy, and national security efforts."

International broadcasting: not as simple as stimulus-response - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "It is a mistake to tie the existence of US international broadcasting efforts to changes in opinions in the target country. International broadcasting succeeds by providing news that is more reliable, comprehensive, and credible than the news from state controlled media in the target country. It does not succeed by proving news 'from the perspective of' the broadcasting country. The most noticeable change caused by international broadcasting is that the audience will be better informed, not that its opinions will change. If the policies of the United States are wise and virtuous, then it is plausible that the opinions of well informed audiences will, in the long term, move, at least slightly, in the direction of US views. This is a subtle process, usually not measurable, year-to-year, in surveys. … If US public diplomacy takes a side in the intra-Muslim conflict, that could arouse suspicions about that side. If US international broadcasting reports on the various sides of that conflict, the moderate side gets an airing it might not otherwise have." Image from

NPR versus Radio France - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Abolish the BBG, and senior managers of US international broadcasting elements would again be politically appointed, à la Radio France." On BBG, see.

US Fly to Let owners benefit from Visa Waiver Program expansion - Fly to let: "The Travel Industry Association (TIA) has welcomed the official expansion of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which is estimated to bring approximately one million new visitors to the United States annually. … 'Adding friends and allies to the Visa Waiver Program strengthens U.S. security, boosts America's vital public diplomacy efforts and stimulates U.S. economic growth,' said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association."

Could there be a Mousavi Effect? – Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy: "If a 'Mousavi [Mir Hossein Mousavi, possible winner of the Iranian presidential election] Effect' could open a window of opportunity for Iranian public diplomacy and soft power, the big question -- just as it was for Obama -- would be whether Iran would use that moment to reinforce existing lines of conflict or to break them down. Could direct renewed Iranian soft power towards rebuilding strained relations with Arabs and overcoming the 'moderate camp vs resistance camp' narrative preferred by Ahmedenejad (and by the Bush administration and key Arab leaders such as Hosni Mubarak)? How would the Obama administration respond to such an Iranian public diplomacy offensive? In the end, that may be more important than the nuclear question for the future of the region." Mousavi image from

What If Israel Strikes Iran? The mullahs would retaliate. But things would be much worse if they had the bomb – John Bolton, Wall Street Journal: "Many argue that Israeli military action will cause Iranians to rally in support of the mullahs' regime and plunge the region into political chaos. To the contrary, a strike accompanied by effective public diplomacy could well turn Iran's diverse population against an oppressive regime. Most of the Arab world's leaders would welcome Israel solving the Iran nuclear problem, although they certainly won't say so publicly and will rhetorically embrace Iran if Israel strikes. But rhetoric from its Arab neighbors is the only quantum of solace Iran will get." See also.

News in Brief - Gili Izikovich, "The editor of the '7 Days' supplement in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has been appointed head of hasbara (public diplomacy) at the Prime Minister's Office. Nir Hefez, 44, has been the supplement's editor for the last three years. He is considered a close associate of Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar and other senior Likud figures, and in 2001 was nominated to be director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, though he was ultimately not selected for the post. In 2005, Hefez released the biography 'Ariel Sharon: A Life' with co-author Gadi Bloom." Image from

Atrocity sidelines diplomacy - Achara Ashayagachat, Bangkok Post: "Monday night's massacre at Al-Furqan mosque was an atrocity but it was not completely unexpected given that monks and teachers, Buddhists and Muslims, have been killed - in the course of daily events - over the past five years. … Thailand was moving in the right direction by addressing educational and economic opportunities through social justice and public diplomacy. Arshi Khan, a political scientist at Aligarh Muslim University in India, said Thailand's nation-building was best achieved not through integration of land but through the integration of people. Thailand was moving in the right direction by addressing educational and economic opportunities through social justice and public diplomacy."

TWF to promote Wallace to foreign communities - The Jakarta Post: "The Wallacea Foundation (TWF) is campaigning throughout the Wallacea area to global communities as an effort to realise its plan to set up a biodiversity research center in Ternate, North Maluku. … Director of public diplomacy at the foreign affairs ministry, Umar Hadi, said his office would support efforts to promote the Wallace area in the international arena."

Not-So Pleasant Day: Devilshin’s Episode - Shinlee, ORIENS ROS - "I attend a symposium which discuss Father Wibowo’s newest book titled Embracing China: The Relationship Between China and Indonesia Post Soeharto Era—well, it’s the instant translation of Merangkul Cina: Hubungan Cina-Indonesia Pasca Soeharto~XD and it is goddamn boring. I mean, it suppose to discuss the international relations between two countries, which is, IMO, public diplomacy or such kinda things. But the spokespersons (again, IMHO), just went too far by focusing it in trading and economic issues." Image from


Clinton adopts low-key style at State Dept. - Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY: A year after conceding the Democratic nomination to Obama, and four months after becoming his secretary of State, the former first lady and New York senator has settled into her next act : a supporting role as the top diplomat for a president who is his own global ambassador.

Obama has been his own foreign policy spokesman, sometimes with Clinton standing quietly behind him. Some days, one of the many special envoys gets more attention than she does. During her Senate confirmation hearings, Clinton promised to harness what foreign policy wonks call "smart power" — U.S. economic and cultural influence — to make diplomacy "the vanguard of our foreign policy." Image from

Duel of the Spy Chiefs: A Turf War Exposes a Botched Reorganization - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The CIA should run operations; the DNI (director of national intelligence) should run analysis and intelligence community coordination.

Palau to the Rescue: It's only costing $11.7 million per detainee - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Months of moral grandstanding and intense diplomacy are finally yielding dividends: President Obama has convinced Palau, a Pacific archipelago

and long-standing U.S. ally, to resettle a small group of the least dangerous Guantanamo detainees. All it took was $200 million in foreign aid to a country with 20,000 residents and a GDP of about $164 million.

Images: "Destinations: Destinations: Palau, Micronesia"; Gulag archipelago

Guantanamo haunts released detainees: Released without support or resources, these often shunned, destitute and depressed men make easy recruits for radicals - Laurel Fletcher and Eric Stover, Los Angeles Times

An Innocent Abroad – Timothy Egan, New York Times: For five months now in the Umbrian hill town of Perugia, an American exchange student called “Angel Face” by the tabloid press has been on trial for the murder of her roommate. On Friday, for the first time, that student, Amanda Knox will testify on her own behalf.

New GOP Phrase For Detainee Pictures: “Terrorist Propaganda Photos”:

The Plum Line: Greg Sargent's blog: Get ready to hear Republicans and conservative opinion-makers using a new phrase to describe the unreleased photos of detainees that are at the center of a white-hot political war right now: “Terrorist propaganda photos.” The phrase is a reference not to Gitmo, but to other detainee photos whose potential disclosure is at the center of a huge political fight. Image from

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